Linux Strategies for Winning the Market - Linux

This is a discussion on Linux Strategies for Winning the Market - Linux ; On Jan 3, 5:06 pm, The Ghost In The Machine wrote: > In comp.os.linux.advocacy, Sinister Midget > > wrote > on Thu, 3 Jan 2008 15:12:54 -0600 > : > > MS seems to be past it's heyday, too. Rigor ...

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  1. Linux Strategies for Winning the Market

    On Jan 3, 5:06 pm, The Ghost In The Machine
    > In comp.os.linux.advocacy, Sinister Midget
    > wrote
    > on Thu, 3 Jan 2008 15:12:54 -0600
    > :

    > > MS seems to be past it's heyday, too. Rigor mortis just needs a little
    > > more time to become so evident that even the armchair medical experts
    > > (tech press, Windummies, DuFuses, Quooks, Timmies, etc) won't be able
    > > to deny the state of its death.

    > The reports of MSFT's demise are greatly exaggerated,
    > presumably. After all, we're talking a corporation that is
    > making over $54B of revenue and $14.88B of income a year,
    > with no debt and 23.3% quarterly year-on-year earnings growth.

    Don't forget that $25 billion in cash and short term investments.
    They also have a $4 billion advertising budget that buys a lot of good
    press. In addition, they use their control over trademarks very
    aggressively to control almost $20 billion in OEM advertizing budgets.

    Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer own a huge percentage of the company, and
    only if State Street and Vanguard agreed together that Bill or Steve
    should go, could they be fired, which means that ever if they commit
    criminal acts and admit them in court, they are pretty pretty much
    immune. Microsoft spends nearly $1 billion in legal fees and $2
    billion in settlements each year, most of which goes to settlements of
    lawsuits involving criminal activities such as fraud, extortion,
    sabotage, blackmail, obstruction of justice, and collusion.

    Microsoft could probably continue to pump $5 billion/year into funding
    it's revenue stream for a few more years if they think it will help
    them retain their monopoly control over the market.

    > This is not to say Windows is any good from a technical
    > standpoint; it's pure crap.

    Windows has always been technically inferior to competitors, including
    Mac, OS/2, Solaris, UnixWare, and Linux. On the other hand, it's
    "good enough" to maintain their monopoly control, when they can strong-
    arm OEMs into excluding competitors by making it too expensive not to
    do so. It's "good enough" when they can get CIOs to force every
    employee to use Windows, often to the exclusion of all others, by
    threatening these CIOs with license audits, including CALs for servers
    and other expensive audits.

    > However, it's highly
    > profitable crap...and I for one have no idea how we'd
    > unseat this monster,

    Go through my postings in the COLA newsgroups, and my links and
    archives at Open4Success. There is a strategy, it is being
    implemented, and it is working.

    Linux is doing the right things right. They have worked to make it as
    easy as possible for Windows users to take Linux for a "test drive"
    without having to wipe out Windows. This has gotten progressively
    easier each year. In 1993, you had to repartition your hard drive,
    install Linux in the new partition, and boot either Linux or Windows.
    Today, Windows users can boot into Linux using a Live-DVD and a "thumb
    drive". They can also install VMWare Player and a Linux "Appliance"
    and have a LInux desktop running in a few minutes with no installation
    effort. Magazines like PC world are even offering the Linux
    appliances on DVD now.

    Linux then makes it possible to run Windows applications from Linux.
    They can use WINE, or desktop virtualization to run Windows from
    Linux. This makes it easier for Windows users to make the transition
    from Windows as the primary desktop OS to Linux as the primary desktop
    OS, yet they can still have all the capabilities of Windows as well.

    Linux provides as much driver support as possible, and lets customers
    and OEMs alike know what devices, such as DirectX/10 will NOT be
    supported by Linux. They also make it easy to use those Live-CDs or
    Live-DVDs to boot Linux on a machine they might purchase (or purchase
    in quantity), and determine immediately whether it will run Linux or

    Linux Distributors work with OEMs to formulate public announcements as
    to which of their products are "Linux Ready". In some cases, the OEMs
    even announce that Linux is "available" for that line of PCs. This
    allows them to monitor the sales of Linux hostile vs Linux Ready
    systems and adjust prices appropriately. When they start to see that
    "Linux Ready" PCs are more profitable than "Window Only" PCs, more
    computers will become Linux ready.

    Linux encourages distributors to maintain their diversity, while
    maintaining a common standard framework (LSB). This will allow OEMs
    to create a wider range of offerings from $100 kiddie laptops to
    $3,000 power-user laptops.

    In additon, Linux opens up new markets that were "under the radar" to
    Microsoft. Linux distributors worked with companies like Dell, HP,
    IBM/Lenovo, and others, helping them ship lease-return laptops too old
    to run modern versions of Windows and Office, to 3rd world countries,
    or give them to extremely low-income families, where they could be
    quickly, cheaply, and easily loaded with legal Linux licenses, and
    given to these most needy users.

    These users then had the chance to learn how computers actually work,
    rather than just how to play video games. The result being that they
    became more motivated to study science, math, English (primary
    language of the Internet), and communication skills, including social
    sciences, art, music, and literature. This better trains them to
    learn about business, engineering, politics, and economics. Their
    close ties to extremely poor communities enables them to lift up other
    members of those communities, creating a whole new market for PCs in

    > especially if Bill Gates sees a
    > threat to his business and runs to someone like George
    > Bush for protection.

    It's ironical that George Bush's "protection" may have actually done
    more harm than good. The court case illuminated Microsoft's RICO-like
    practices, their strong-arm tactics, and their illegal activities, and
    ties them directly to the highest ranking executives at Microsoft.
    The lack of enforcement of the settlement has led the industry, and
    regulators in other countries to become much more determined to break
    the Microsoft Monopoly, without setting up a new monopolist. This is
    one of the reasons that the OEMs are so interested in Linux rather
    than SCO Unix or Solaris.

    The case has also made Microsoft's competitors, past, present, and
    future, much more determined to break the monopoly as well, and adopt
    a more "open" technology framework. Apple adopted BSD Unix, and
    showed the world that UNIX could be made user friendly, then put those
    user friendly UNIX systems on retailer shelves. From there, UNIX
    powered Macs have been showing up everywhere, especially places like
    Starbucks, Airports, and other places where executives want a
    reliable, secure, and useful system they can take on the road and to

    > The good news: Microsoft has proven itself quite proficient
    > at shooting itself in the foot.

    Microsoft has "bet the farm" several times, and lost. They lost with
    Windows NT 3.1 and 3.5. They spent $billions developing it, and had
    to spend $billions more to come up with Windows 95 before the market
    started a mass migration to Linux.

    They lost with Windows ME. They tried to come up with a "Linux-proof"
    operating system that would lock out competitors by requiring hardware
    with drivers that only Microsoft could license, they tried to extend
    the Windows 9x franchise into the 21st century. And it backfired.
    From 1998 to 2001, Linux became much more popular, and PC buyers hated
    ME so much that they often demanded refunds for their PCs, or even
    paid as much as $100 per machine to "downgrade" to Windows 98.

    They almost lost with XP. When Microsoft tried to "force feed" XP
    into the corporate market, many corporations issued directives for
    CIOs and CTOs to formulate plans that would allow the corporation to
    stop paying Microsoft, even if it meant switching to Linux.

    And it looks like they lost with Vista. In this case, OEMs paid as
    much as 50% more to upgrade Vista computers to XP, and many companies
    have pretty much told Microsoft that if they try to drop support for
    XP, they will start putting Linux on Retail shelves. Many
    corporations have not just delayed adoption of Vista, they have banned
    Vista completely. Many have stated that they have no plans to upgrade
    to Vista, which would indicate that if Microsoft attempts to shut down
    XP, they will be ready to switch to Linux or Unix.

    > The bad news: it has a lot of feet and no one seems to
    > even notice or care, except for this bunch here in COLA
    > and an occasional freeware blogger.

    It's more like the Linux mascot, the Penguin. Remember, Emporer
    Penguins lay and hatch their eggs and raise their young in the most
    hostile part of the planet, to protect them from predators. They wait
    until the ice melts, and by the time their young have lost their down,
    they are ready to go into the sea as some of the fastest swimmers in
    the world. Emporor Penguins, even young ones, "fly" through the water
    at almost 45 miles per hour. These birds then spend 5 years in the
    water, getting really really fat, before they make the 75 mile trek
    into antarctica.

    Linux is similar. Linux was developed and evolved as open source
    software, free of the economic pressures, limitations, and budgetary
    restrictions that limit the development of commercial applications.
    Thousands of applications were generated, and encouraged to compete
    with each other by the distributors, who included everything they
    could in their distribution media.

    Linux, and the OSS applications then infiltrated the marketplace
    covertly. Linux distributors didn't promote many specific
    applications, but instead encouraged users to compare and choose for
    themselves. Linux was distributed freely, and the revenue came from
    those who wanted support. To be profitable, the distributors had to
    test, patch, and contribute to the OSS to keep their costs down, while
    still providing valuable upgrades, documentation, and configuration
    support, which created their revenue streams.

    Linux users were often the first to use high speed internet, because
    they wanted the ability to download these upgrades and distributions
    as quickly as possible. Downloading 2 gigabytes worth of updates over
    a 28 Kb/sec dial-up connection just wasn't going to cut it.

    Linux distributors were very creative at using new distribution
    channels. Getting a software product onto retailer shelves had
    reached the point where a minimum of $10 million was required just to
    get one cardboard box out to one national franchise. The Linux
    distributors found other ways to get their product distributed.

    They offered downloads, and packaged the downloads so that it was easy
    and convenient to download a very robust distribution quickly, and it
    could be installed easily. This also created more demand for high
    speed internet.

    They utilized CD-ROM burners, encouraging users to burn freely
    distributable CD-ROMs and give them to 30-40 of their closest
    friends. Many distributors even encouraged their customers to throw
    "Install Parties" helping new Linux users get their systems installed.

    They utilized USB drives and Flash memory, which allowed them to
    quickly distribute their goods to lots of new customers.

    They used Live-CDs and Live-DVDs, in combination with the USB drives.
    This allowed Linux distributors to boot from a CD or DVD, but use the
    external drive or flash drive for personal files and configuration

    Rather than have the OEMs create special machines exclusively for
    Linux, the Linux community created drivers for every device they could
    get specs on. In many cases, it was difficult to get secret codes
    such as USB and PCI device and vendor codes, but when Microsoft double-
    crossed it's own "partners", they often voided contracts that included
    nondisclosure agreements. In other cases, the community was able to
    probe, catalog, and document these codes.

    The result is that more and more PC models became "Linux Ready" and
    Linux was installed by USERS rather than OEMs. In essence, Linux was
    like the little penguins swimming under water at blazing speeds, but
    mostly not visable to the usual predators.

    Even when Linux was adopted by the OEMs, it was mostly "below the
    radar". The server market grew at radical rates, and today, it's
    nearly impossible to use a PC on the internet without accessing at
    least a few Linux or UNIX servers each access. This gave Linux a
    chance to establish a very solid reputation with corporate IT
    managers, and eventually even the CEO and COO. Even the non-geeks
    liked the fact that Linux was easy to get, scaled well, and integrated
    well with their other corporate servers. At the same time, Linux
    established a reputation in large corporations of being reliable,
    secure, efficient, easy to manage and maintain, performing well, and
    in general having very low Total Cost of Ownership and very high
    Return On Investment. With all of these satisfied customers, even
    Microsoft's "Fast Facts" or "Fast with the Facts" benchmarks and
    studies weren't having an impact. IT managers didn't need benchmarks
    and surveys, they could look at their own budgets and service records.

    Linux also became very popular with smaller OEMs who produced Linux
    "Appliances". Companies like D-Link, LinkSys, NetGear, Nokia, Belkin,
    started creating Linux powered routers, hubs, firewalls, WiFi hubs,
    printer hubs, and storage controllers. Even though they didn't have
    the little penguin on the box, the industry was aware that these were
    Linux boxes, and the consumers were buying.

    Soon, Linux and Unix were being integrated into new consumer products
    including DVRs, HDTV tuners, HDTV TVs, Digital cable tuners, Digital
    Satellite devices, DVD players, and even VCRs.

    A nice side effect of the success of Linux is that Open Source
    Software became more widely accepted and trusted. Mozilla, FireFox,
    Gaim, Pidgin, Open Office, and numerous other Open Source applications
    have been ported to Windows, usually by using Red Hat's cygwin
    compatibility library (lets Windows users run Linux OSS apps) and
    platform independent Java.

    Of course, these new OSS apps are establishing open industry-wide
    standards and many companies who have gravitated to industry wide
    standards, such as those that made the Internet a universial medium
    for business. New standards such as Open Document Format are becoming
    popular largely as a result of the success of Linux, OSS, and Internet
    Open Standards.

    > Viruses? No problem; just buy AV software.

    Not exactly. Keep in mind that globally, businesses lose as much as
    $300 billion per year in primary and secondary damages related to
    viruses. Antivirus software and AntiSpyware software actually catches
    the malware AFTER it has been pulled in. But when you do a little
    root cause analysis, it turns out that most of these malware programs
    are pulled in by ActiveX controls, MicroViruses, and embedded OLE
    objects embedded in MS-Office attachments. A company will spend
    $millions, even $billions setting up firewalls, antivirus,
    antispyware, spam filters, other security measures, only to have the
    entire security system breached by someone who uses Outlook e-mail to
    preview an e-mail file that contains embedded HTML which contains
    embedded ActiveScript which pulls in ActiveX controls or Attachments
    with embedded malware OLEs, and suddenly you have a highly secured
    workstation sending out confidential company information via e-mail,
    smtp, or http.

    Microsoft keeps promising better security, but they absolutely refuse
    to give up their back-doors. Vista was supposed to be totally
    secure. Instead, Vista has turned into a Nightmere.

    > Deficiencies? No problem; get some shareware.

    IT managers are getting much more touchy about shareware. It seems
    that most of the copyright violations found by watchdogs like BSA -
    are unregistered shareware. All it takes is 10-20 people downloading
    WinZip and not paying the registration fee within the 30 day time
    limit to leave yourself open to the choice of 20 years in federal
    prison, or signing a BSA settlement, and a blanket agreement with
    Microsoft that covers everything they publish. In essence, it's
    blackmail. The CIO is being threatened with prison for the acts of
    the company's employees.

    Open Source, on the other hand, with Licenses that explicitly state
    that the software can be downloaded and used, and can be freely
    distributed, often gets loaded into a corporate archive, so that
    employees can load it directly. The corporation then usually makes a
    donation to the organization that supports the sharware, or gets a
    support contract from a company who will forward a portion of that to
    the OSS supporters.

    Many companies are also doing "give-back" by allowing, even
    encouraging, their employees to submit and support shareware. They
    are encouraged to do it as individuals, to avoid liability for the
    company, and they are warned not to pirate someone else's software and
    submit it as OSS, but they are often rewarded for their "Give-Back" or
    "Industry Leadership".

    > Sluggish machine? No problem; get a new
    > one with a more "modern" OS such as Vista.

    Appearantly that isn't working so well. If you buy a bigger machine,
    with 4 times the RAM, that's 4 times faster, and has 4 times the drive
    capacity, Vista will end up being SLOWER than XP on the older machine.

    If you get a DirectX-10 card, you might get some nifty graphics, but
    it won't be faster than XP. Vista won't be more secure than XP with
    3rd party security software from McAffee or Symantic. Vista won't be
    more reliable than XP, and third party software will probably NOT run
    as well on Vista.

    Perhaps this is why so many PCs, even when they are displayed on the
    retail shelves with Vista Home Premium, are being purchased with
    Windows XP. Perhaps this is why so many machines displayed with
    Vista, use cards that DON'T support DirectX-10, but use cards that
    support OpenGL instead.

    Even the game writers have opted to use wrapper libraries that convert
    OpenGL calls to DirectX calls on XP, than write custom applications
    written directly to DirectX. In many cases, if the Video card
    supports OpenGL natively, the game can bypass the wrappers and go
    directly to the card driver via the OpenGL library.

    > Isn't setting people's expectations wonderful?

    The problem is that there is nothing that will make a mob turn ugly
    faster than unfulfilled expectations. If you promise them bread and
    give them gruel, they will behead you.

    > Oh, don't forget to
    > register your copy of Vista, citizen; it's for your own good.

    How many fingers do you see on my hand? Four? Bzzzzt.
    Now that you have finished screaming, try again. Five? Bzzzt
    That's correct, but that's not what you actually see is it? IT's only
    what you think I want to hear.

    Orwell's 1984. I particularly liked the movie. Richard Burton was so
    good as the thought police.

    > As for the C-64...I played with it for 5 minutes or so once.

    My dad had one. Of course, by then, I was programming for CP/M, and
    shortly after that I was using UNIX. C-64 looked SO Primative in
    comparison. When I finally got a PC with MS-DOS, all I wanted to do
    is switch it to UNIX somehow. Unfortunately I had to wait almost 10
    years to convert a PC to UNIX.

    When Windows 3.0 came out, I was using a Sun SparcStation as my
    primary workstation. Windows was stone-age compared to SunOS 4.0. In
    fact, even Windows XP doesn't have many of my favorite features of
    SunOS 4.0. And by the time I got to Slackware 2.0, I liked it better
    than Solaris.

    > I can't say it was that impressive except that
    > it was instantly on, ready to go from the moment one hits
    > the power switch. (The same could be said for many other
    > machines -- the TRS80 and the Apple ][ also come to mind.

    It was ready if you didn't have a floppy drive. If you had a floppy,
    it took a while for it to get up to speed.

    > The Amiga didn't quite make it but was very close.)

    I liked the Amiga, and the Atari ST. Both were great computers, but
    didn't have memory management units, so they couldn't run UNIX or OS/9
    68K. The DRI/GEM system was very nice, but the resolution was still
    very low for a windowed system (it was better than MS-DOS, but still
    only 640x480 in Color. It had a black and white 1024x768 mode, but it
    was interlaced at 70hz and many people disliked the jitter that came
    from the interlace.

    DRI released GEM for MS-DOS at the same time, and Microsoft freaked.
    They were still trying to get the bugs out of Windows 1.0, and here
    was GEM, fully operational, and could run on top of either MS-DOS or
    DR-DOS. I think DR-DOS even had real multitasking by then.

    > ASUS finally has partially replicated that experience for
    > the masses, allowing a browser within 5 seconds or so on
    > the P5E3, as I understand it.

    You get a "hot" display in just a few seconds, but at least the OLPC
    still seems to take a few seconds to load applications from the flash
    into the RAM. Still, both Linux and Windows have good "sleep" modes,
    which makes it much easier to "fire-up" without having to go through a
    lengthy reboot process. The difference is that Linux actually LIKES
    to go weeks between reboots. Windows still has memory leaks, file
    lock-outs, and other issues that make it almost mandatory to reboot
    your PC every 2-3 days. I was surprised when I got a warning because
    I hadn't rebooted Windows in 48 hours.

    > Presumably Microsoft is still working on it. We'll see
    > this "innovation" maybe a few years from now.

    I think they said that was supposed to be in Vista. They were also
    working on getting it into the PDA operating system. They are
    supposedly working on some sort of OLPC type operating system as
    well. The problem is that they can't come up with an operating system
    that will only need 4 gig of flash storage, including all applications
    and personal data.

    > Never mind that Linux already has it, as a proof of concept.

    Linux can boot from USB flash drives or SD-RAM drives if you have them
    and your computer supports booting from them. Since there is no
    latentcy and access times can be as fast as 20 megabytes/second
    sustained rate on Linux, (as opposed to 40 MB/sec burst 300 KB/sec
    sustained rate for Windows on a 5400 RPM IDE drive).

    > --
    > #191,

    Rex Ballard

  2. Re: Linux Strategies for Winning the Market

    * Rex Ballard fired off this tart reply:

    > Go through my postings in the COLA newsgroups, and my links and
    > archives at Open4Success. There is a strategy, it is being
    > implemented, and it is working.

    It's not working until you hear it in the news.

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